When asked a simple yes or no question, US President Joe Biden first tried to find the word. Then he fell into an unbearably long silence.
US President Joe Biden was two and a half hours late for a media conference in Brussels today, where he was asked about the upcoming summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mr. BidenThis is his first visit since he took office, and a bilateral meeting with Putin will be held in Geneva on Wednesday.
Today he met with NATO leaders, and one of the topics discussed was “Russian aggression” and “posed a threat to NATO and our national security.”
“I share with our allies My message to President Putin: I am not looking for a conflict with Russia, but if Russia continues its harmful activities, we will respond. We will not fail to defend NATO or defend democratic values,” Mr. Biden said.
In an embarrassing moment halfway through the press conference, Biden was asked if he still supported the previous remarks that put Putin as a “killer” as a candidate.
In a recent television interview, Putin himself was asked about these remarks. The Russian leader laughed at this issue and said “I am not worried at all.”
“In an interview on the weekend, Vladimir Putin mocked you for calling him a killer. This is still your belief. Is he a killer?” A reporter asked Mr. Biden today.
The President of the United States also started his answer with laughter.
“I’m also laughing,” he said.
“Actually, I- uh, look, he has made it clear, uh, uh…”
As Mr. Biden pondered his response, there was an unbearably long pause at this time—seven seconds of silence.
“The answer is, I believe he basically admitted in the past that he would or does do certain things,” he continued at last.
“But look. When I asked this question on the live broadcast (for the first time), I answered it honestly, but I don’t think it is important for our next meeting.”
Not the clearest answer, then.
The same reporter also asked Mr. Biden how he could trust Putin if he agreed to cooperate with the United States.
“I will verify first, and then trust,” Mr. Biden said.
“In other words, everything must be proven to be true. This is not trust, but consent.
“When you sign a treaty with your opponent, you don’t say,’I trust you.’ You say,’This is what I expect. If you violate our agreement, the treaty will become invalid.
“I hope President Putin will conclude that in terms of his own interests, there is some interest in changing the world’s perception of him. As for whether he will take actions that are more in line with the appropriate behavior of the head of state.”
Some other important issues were also raised during the media conference. Read on for a quick summary.
Regarding setting expectations for the summit
Another reporter asked Mr. Biden whether he agreed that the Americans “should not expect too much” in terms of the progress or substantive agreement of the meeting with Putin.
“I have been doing this for a long time. The last thing anyone will do is to negotiate in front of the world media about how he will have an important meeting with his opponent,” he said.
“I will tell you this. I will make it clear to President Putin that if he wants, we can cooperate in certain areas. If he chooses not to cooperate and act in the past, as opposed to cyber security and other activities. , Then we will make the same response.
“We should decide in which areas of cooperation are in our common interests and in the interests of the world. See if we can do it. We do not agree with the areas, where are the red lines.
“I have met him (before). He is very smart and strong, and I found him to be a worthy opponent, as I said when I played in the past.”
Just like the previous praise, the last sentence is not exactly the same as Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, who called Putin a “genius.” But this is the shockingly positive assessment of the current president.
About the sentiments of other world leaders
Mr. Biden was asked whether other world leaders he met expressed concern about him allowing Putin to hold bilateral summits.
Republicans argued that he might “reward” Putin, who would use this high-profile meeting to improve his political status in Russia.
“Every world leader here, as a NATO member, spoke today — most of them mentioned it — thank me for meeting Putin now. Everyone who speaks. And I think there may be about 10 To 12 people to talk to,” Mr. Biden said.
“They are very happy that I will do this. I think it is entirely appropriate for me to do this. I discussed with them what they think is important from their point of view.
“The funny thing is—I’m not criticizing the media, I really mean that, to give you my words—but in general, you all think,’Is Biden met him too early?’ I haven’t found it yet. A world leader who thinks this is not fast enough, just fast enough.
“There is a consensus. They thank me for being willing to talk to them about the meeting and what I intend to do.”
About the imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny
The Putin government’s recent indiscretions include Imprisoning Russia’s most famous opposition figure, Alexei Navalny.
Mr. Navalny had previously been poisoned by a Soviet-era nerve agent.
A reporter asked Mr. Biden if Mr. Navalny died, what this would mean for US-Russian relations.
“The death of Navalny will once again show that Russia has little or no intention to observe basic human rights. This will be a tragedy,” he replied.
“In my opinion, this will only hurt (Putin’s) relationship with the rest of the world and with me.”
On the prospects of Ukraine joining NATO
Talk to the wire transfer agency Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Volodmir Zelensky stated that he hoped that Mr. Biden would give a clear “yes or no” answer on whether he supports making Ukraine part of NATO.
This will involve allowing Ukraine to participate Member Action Plan, Tailor-made recommendations and support plans for individual countries wishing to join NATO.
In view of the continued confrontation between Ukraine and Russia, Mr. Zelensky has been pushing NATO to accelerate his country’s entry into the alliance.
“It depends on whether they meet the standards. The fact is that they still need to clean up corruption. They still have to meet other standards before they can enter the action plan,” Mr. Biden said when asked about this.
“So, you know, the school has solved this problem. It remains to be seen. At the same time, we will do everything we can to make Ukraine able to resist Russian physical aggression.
“It depends not only on me, whether we come to the conclusion that Ukraine can become part of NATO, it will depend on the alliance and how they vote.”
This is not the answer that Mr. Zelensky wanted. He will have the opportunity to personally ask Mr. Biden about this during his visit to the White House in July.
About Trump’s lingering ghost
A reporter told Mr. Biden that American allies were “quite disturbed” by the riots in the Capitol on January 6, and a group of Trump supporters tried to prevent Congress from proving his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
“They may still be shocked by Donald Trump’s continued control of the Republican Party,” she said.
“As for how the next U.S. president will keep any promises you make, what do you think of these allies at these meetings?”
So, in essence, if Trump returns to the White House in 2025, how can allies believe that the United States will keep its promises?
“What I said to them is, look at me,” Mr. Biden said.
“People don’t doubt that what I said is true. They believe that when I say it, they will keep their promises. I will not make any promises to anyone who I think is impossible to deliver.
“I think many people think that my appearance in the G7 will not have any enthusiasm for the leadership of the United States and the position of the United States. I suggest that it will not become that way.
“The leaders I deal with in NATO and G7 understand our recent history, the character of the American people, and the position of the general public. It is not Democrats or Republicans, but who we are. We are a respectable person. A glorious nation.
“They witnessed things happen, just like us, they were shocked and surprised. But I think they believe that the American people will not maintain this behavior as much as I do.”